Obama: 'Don't ask, don't tell' repeal ‘strengthened’ national security

President Obama said Thursday that the country’s national security has been strengthened by the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” in a statement noting the one-year anniversary ending a ban on gay and lesbian service members serving openly in the military.

“As Commander in Chief, I’ve seen that our national security has been strengthened because we are no longer denied the skills and talents of those patriotic Americans who happen to be gay or lesbian,” Obama said. 

“The ability of service members to be open and honest about their families and the people they love honors the integrity of the individuals who serve, strengthens the institutions they serve, and is one of the many reasons why our military remains the finest in the world," he said.

The repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” which was passed by Congress in 2010 and was implemented last September, has been frequently cited by the president on the campaign trail as one of his chief accomplishments.

While the fight was red-hot during debate of the repeal in 2010, it has faded as a political issue in the year since it was implemented.

Republican lawmakers said they don’t have plans to try and roll back the repeal, and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said last year it isn’t something he plans to take up either.

Military commanders — including Marine Gen. James Amos, who opposed the repeal — have said that the implementation has gone smoothly, with relatively few problems reported.

Obama said in the statement that the repeal has been implemented “in an orderly manner, preserving unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness.”